No matter how much we love our families, there can be such a thing as Too Much Family Togetherness. The holidays are just barely past, so you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s those quirky little expressions, mannerisms or habits—sometimes they were even endearing at first—that begin to drive us crazy.
For the most part, I’ll be sorry to bid farewell to the Braverman clan when NBC’s Parenthood signs off this week after six seasons, but there a few things about them I’m not going to miss.
1. The way Zeek never called the kids by their names, always addressing them as “grandson” or “granddaughter.” It was cute at first, but then I began to worry that maybe Grandpa had dementia and truly couldn’t remember their names. Zeek, meet your grandchildren. Their names are Amber, Drew, Sydney, Victor, Jabbar, Aida, Norah, Max and Haddie. Speaking of which… where the heck is Haddie, the forgotten Braverman? Banished to college, barely mentioned and rarely seen, Haddie brought home a girlfriend and then we never saw her again. Here’s hoping this “granddaughter” shows up for the finale.
2. Amber has no friends. With all the ups and downs this kid has had—sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, a missing father and a boyfriend with PTSD—it would be nice if she had someone to talk to besides her mother and sulky kid brother. Surely not every single girl her age has vanished from Berkeley. Although Haddie did, so maybe there’s something evil afoot, lurking, waiting to snatch up Amber, the last 21-year-old girl in town. If that’s so, Amber better start shutting—and dead bolting—the always-open door to her cool (and very large) hipster loft apartment. By the way, I’m going to miss Amber and would love to see how she grows into her role as a mother. Spinoff potential?
3. Adam’s codependence. I get it. He’s the oldest and clearly feels responsible for his wife and kids… siblings… his parents… the kids at Chambers Academy… and the future of the Luncheonette—which he wouldn’t be involved in in the first place if he hadn’t been trying to “people please” and rescue his little brother Crosby. Don’t get me wrong. I love Crosby and the Luncheonette has certainly provided both musical, comical and dramatic entertainment. Ashes of Rome, anyone? And that time the receptionist kissed Adam because he has a hard time drawing boundaries? And then he didn’t want to fire her? Adam, please go to CoDA.org and find a meeting.
4. The lack of chemistry between Lorelai, I mean Sarah, and Hank. I really like both of these characters and I’ve especially enjoyed seeing Hank come to terms with his late diagnosis of Asperger’s (doesn’t it give us hope for Max?), and Sarah has matured in her career and relationships. But there’s just no spark between these two, not even a flashbulb. They are like brother and sister. If the idea of this union was to prove that Sarah Braverman is a grownup after all, couldn’t they have found a happy medium between the young, cute Mr. Cyr and ol’ curmudgeonly Hank? Oh, wait, they did—with that hunky neighbor played by Josh Stamberg. Was it just too fairy tale to have Sarah wind up with a philanthropic Prince Charming who was a doctor, to boot? Rest assured, I won’t protest if Sarah and Hank go through with the wedding, but I have a hard time seeing them grow old(er) together.
5. Kristina’s perfection. Please believe me when I say, I adore Kristina Braverman. In fact, with the miracles she’s pulled off, maybe we should have her canonized. She has been cured of cancer. She ran an improbable mayoral campaign, which she may well have won if she hadn’t been so virtuous that she was unwilling to spill the dirt she had on her opponent. Then she started a charter school for special needs kids practically overnight. Besides, I am obsessed with her perfect eyebrow arch, flawless complexion and the fact that she can look so damn beautiful in baggy pants and Converse with her hair piled atop her head.
My real beef with Kristina is her coddling of Max. I get that we need to give him a bit of a pass because of the Asperger’s. I know human interaction is tough for him and that he has issues with impulse control. I also get that, as a mother, Kristina wishes she could just snuggle with him and wrap her arms around him for a big mama bear hug a couple of times a day. I can only imagine how painful it is for her to worry about what the future holds. And yet… it often seems there are no consequences for Max’s outbursts and stubbornness, as Saint Kristina pleads and tries to reason with him while calling him “Buddy” when he ought to have a good long timeout and no dessert.
I could go on about Crosby always being in the doghouse with Jasmine, Sydney’s tendency toward brattiness, Drew’s poor choice of girlfriends, or the fact that Camille dragged Zeek and his weak heart on a rugged hike last week…
Instead, I’ll give the Bravermans the same forbearance I hope my own family gives me. This one last time, I’ll overlook their shortcomings and their propensity to be up in each other’s business all the time, because despite their annoying little quirks, the Bravermans have become like family, showing up for a regular visit on Thursday nights. I’m going to miss them, but I’m happy they’ve had the good grace to not overstay their welcome.